Source says group accused of hazing VSU students is a scam

Posted at 6:37 PM, Apr 24, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-25 11:37:59-04

Chesterfield, Va. - Churchland High graduate Marvell Edmondson and Bruton High graduate Jauwan Holmes braved the Appomattox River to become Men of Honor.

Chesterfield police believe that's how they died.

They've arrested members of that Men of Honor group for hazing them.

A source close to the group tells NewsChannel 3 that the organization was a scam.

The source also says the group recruited freshmen with promises of parties and money.

“Just parties, and parties, That’s all I ever heard about them. No things that ever really helped the community,” says VSU student Wayne Lightfoot

Family, friends remember VSU student Marvell Edmondson in Portsmouth

Lightfoot says many knew Men of Honor wasn't a sanctioned campus group.

But they did know them for parties near campus.

“I feel like they kind of got scammed and somebody took advantage of these young guys,” says Lightfoot.

A source close to the group says members of the group would walk around on campus and approach other students about becoming members.

They were told being in the group could make them money.

Police have arrested 35-year-old James Mackey, VSU freshmen Eriq Benson and Cory Baytop for hazing. They're still looking for Charles Zollicoffer.

Authorities say Edmondson, Holmes and five others were told to cross the river during an initiation ritual.

Survivors say members of the group assured them there was land all the way across.

The source says the group started about eight years ago.

They say it wasn't tied to any national organization or any other groups with the men of honor name.

Elayne Mitchell says the group made it seem like they were affiliated with VSU when they came to her church just two months ago.

“The young men looked nice and very distinguished looking they were gentlemen, very polite,” says

Police say there could be more members of the group arrested.  It's something some students see as a step toward avenging Edmondson and Holmes’ deaths.

Officials believe the body found in the river today was Jauwan Holmes.

The Williamsburg native and fellow Virginia State freshman Marvell Edmonson disappeared into the river on Sunday.

VSU’s president spoke to the families of the teens today after officials announced the second body had been found.


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